Kenneth Gray Jr.

JEFFERSONVILLE — A judge has declined to raise bond for a man accused of child molestation who was released from jail Tuesday after paying $50,000.

Kenneth Gray Jr., 44, was arrested Monday on a warrant for level 1 felony child molestation following months of investigation by Jeffersonville and Indiana State Police. He was released the same day after meeting the $50,000 bond associated with the warrant, which had been signed by Senior Judge Daniel Donahue.

Court records show the victim, a child under 14, had reported the incident to police June 9, just after she said it had occurred. The child had stayed the weekend at Gray's home in Jeffersonville, sleeping in a room with two small children. She said Gray had gone Saturday night to a local restaurant and when he returned around midnight, she said she awoke to find he had partially removed her clothes and was sexually assaulting her.

During an interview with police, Gray denied the allegations but consented to a DNA swab. The T-shirt he wore that day was also collected and later tested positive at the Indiana State Police Laboratory Division as a match to the victim's DNA; police say it was her bodily fluid on his shirt.

A forensic download of Gray's phone by police also uncovered multiple photos of what appeared to be the victim in various states of undress including photos sexual in nature, as well as pornographic images of people other than the victim.

During an initial hearing Wednesday in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1, Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Evan Ray requested that bond be raised to $100,000 cash only, due to the nature of the allegations — the DNA evidence and the fact that the victim is an older child.

"The evidence is strong in this case, which creates a greater risk for flight," he said, adding that the state had planned to argue for the higher bond during this initial hearing.

"The [$50,000] bond wasn't OK with us at the time," he said.

Larry Wilder, representing Gray, argued that the government had already set his defendant's bond and that this was just a reaction to try to keep him in jail after he posted the high bond.

"Bond has been established," Wilder said, adding that the state hadn't presented evidence to have it raised and that his client had been present for all things related to this case so far.

"If you're a runner, better run early than late," he said.

Senior Judge Steven Fleece, presiding over the hearing, said he took into considerations what judges may think when signing warrants — Donahue may have believed the $50,000 cash only was sufficient to keep the defendant in jail until the initial hearing. He added that in Clark County, often the much lower $5,000 cash bond will keep a defendant in jail.

He ruled that Gray's bond not be raised, but that he be placed on strict home incarceration pretrial, with a no contact order related to the victim.

He has pretrial conferences scheduled for Dec. 12, Jan. 9 and Feb. 7, with a jury trial scheduled for Feb. 18 at 8:30 a.m.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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